Knowing what causes the drains in your home to become blocked, and understanding how to keep them clear, can save you from having to call a plumber. Better yet, when you can maintain free-flowing drains, it is easier to keep your sinks and bathtub clean and clear. They will be less likely to get coated with deposits of whatever gunk that would otherwise become backed up and make a mess.
Bathroom drains routinely become slow from sticky substances like toothpaste, shaving cream and hair which all collect in the drain pipe. Kitchen sink drains have similar problems because oil and grease tend to solidify and build up over time.
Clean & Clear Tips From the Pros
It is easy to treat and prevent these issues using items you already have at home. Below are some ways you can clear your drains and keep them running smoothly:
Bathroom sinks and tubs usually become slow and blocked for different reasons than kitchen sinks, so you have to deal with them in different ways. For cleaning bathroom drains, ordinary table salt can be a very effective ingredient in your toolbox. Pour at least one tablespoon of salt into your bathroom drain followed by 1⁄4 cup of plain white vinegar, and let it sit for an hour. Then, run HOT water to clear out the all of the loosened substances from the drain. For best results do this a second time.
2. Maintain Your Sinks
To keep your drain clear after you clean it out in this manner, from time to time pour a little bleach into the sink. Let it sit overnight or for at least an hour before you run water down the drain again.
3. Ditch the Grease
Grease build-up in your kitchen sink drain can be remedied with liquid dish detergent and a large volume of boiling water. Put a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Squirt a generous amount of dish liquid (at least a tablespoon) directly into your drain and pour the boiling water into the drain, a little at a time. The rapidly boiling water will melt grease deposits while the detergent helps to dissolve grease and oil and allow the boiling water to flush it away. You may want to repeat this process two to three times if the grease build-up is substantial.
4. Hotter Than Usual Water
It may seem obvious, but simply putting hot water down your kitchen and bathroom sink drains at least weekly can go a long way to keeping them clean and clear. For the kitchen sink, hot water will help to melt and flush away light grease deposits. Bathroom drains also benefit from very hot water, since you normally wouldn’t use such hot water for washing your hands or face.
5. Use Cold Water Wisely
Conversely, when running your garbage disposal, run copious amounts of COLD water down the drain, not hot. Cold water will keep oils and grease in a solid state so they can be broken up by the disposal, whereas hot water will melt and soften grease and encourage it to coat the inside of your drain. Only use hot water after you have already run the disposal to help remove any grease deposits that may have formed when you were washing pots and pans.